If CIA operatives were not already dispirited (and they are, according to a former CIA official) by the events of this week and the threat of ongoing litigation, then the upcoming release of some 44 photos of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan will do the trick. The administration has chosen not to appeal a court ruling allowing the ACLU to obtain and publish these images. Former CIA Assistant Director Mark Lowenthal explains:
[T]he president’s moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on the undercurrent I’ve been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago. We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they’ve been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong. . .They don’t believe they have that cover anymore.
If you are baffled as to why the administration would submit to this gratuitous display, the hapless Robert Gibbs isn’t the person to begin to justify — or even explain — what the administration is thinking. (I would excerpt his response but it is so unintelligible that it deserves to be read in full so as to appreciate how atrociously he is performing at his job.)
Quite unintentionally, John Kerry provides insight into what is going on. He concedes the release of the photos will hand our enemies a propaganda victory, but hastens to add that this is fine because it was on Bush’s watch. Are they so infantile as to believe it was not their country before 2009? Do they really believe that our enemies make any distinction based on who occupies the White House? If so, Americans have put in leadership individuals who are so egotistical and misguided as to believe their personal auras are more important than their country’s reputation.
And what of our intelligence community and their reputation? Such concerns are utterly irrelevant to those now running the country.